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09-26-2009, 11:13 AM   #1
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what happened here?

I took about 160 photos yesterday at the State Fair of Texas. Half of the dozen photos display a strange problem: one side of the photo is apparently not exposed, that is, it's just black. In some photos, the black part is smaller than others - in one photo it's almost half of the shot. But it's always the same size (top of the shot in normal camera orientation). I was shooting with K10D and Pentax 40 limited.

I didn't always notice the problem (I don't look at every shot after I take it) so the problem would occur and the next shot was fine. See the example attached, which is not one of the worst cases. I took a second shot of these news guys immediately afterwards and it was okay. (NOTE: This was taken in a wide open plaza. I am NOT standing next to the corner of a building or anything like that.)

Anybody able to diagnose this problem? Never seen it before.

Thanks in advance,

Will

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09-26-2009, 11:39 AM   #2
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Doesn't look like a shutter curtain problem (my first thought) since it's not a clear delineation between black and exposed areas, plus it's not straight.
Very strange.
There wasn't anything in the way to block light getting into the lens?
09-26-2009, 11:52 AM   #3
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Were you using flash? (Attachments don't have EXIF intact.)

Otherwise, seems like a shutter curtain sync issue...definitely an incomplete exposure. You can tell if it's only on the bottom of the picture.
09-26-2009, 12:10 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Doesn't look like a shutter curtain problem (my first thought) since it's not a clear delineation between black and exposed areas, plus it's not straight.
Very strange.
There wasn't anything in the way to block light getting into the lens?
No, certainly nothing obvious blocking the lens.

Here's a small gallery showing all six of the wrecked shots, and in a couple of cases, showing okay shots taken immediately afterwards.

Picasa Web Albums - William - 20090925a

I've asked myself if I could possibly have allowed a finger or part of my left hand to slop over there. The 40 Ltd lens is new to me and I confess I find it a bit hard to know how to hold the camera when I'm using it; I can't cradle the lens in my left hand. But I don't think that was the problem. For one thing, sloppy placement of my hand MIGHT explain the shots taken in portrait orientation; but I don't see how it explains the shots taken in landscape orientation, because there's no way I was placing my left hand anywhere near the TOP edge of the lens, and yet you can see that some of the shots are blocked on the top.

Will

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09-26-2009, 12:11 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
Were you using flash? (Attachments don't have EXIF intact.)

Otherwise, seems like a shutter curtain sync issue...definitely an incomplete exposure. You can tell if it's only on the bottom of the picture.
What's a "shutter curtain sync issue." Sounds like something I'd have if I WAS using flash, but I wasn't.

Will
09-26-2009, 01:09 PM   #6
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If the shutter curtain fell just before all the light from the flash got to the rest of the subject in the frame, this might be an explanation. But the sky can't be illuminated by flash, so I'm not sure it can be that even if you were shooting with flash...
09-26-2009, 02:34 PM   #7
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My first thought was: camera strap, but the one shot in landscape mode blows that out of the water.
Where you wearing an over-sized giant novelty hat?

mike
09-26-2009, 06:52 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
If the shutter curtain fell just before all the light from the flash got to the rest of the subject in the frame, this might be an explanation. But the sky can't be illuminated by flash, so I'm not sure it can be that even if you were shooting with flash...

Which in any case I wasn't....

09-26-2009, 06:53 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by schmik Quote
My first thought was: camera strap, but the one shot in landscape mode blows that out of the water. Where you wearing an over-sized giant novelty hat?
Mike,

No, not the camera strap. I always work with the camera strap around my neck and it's impossible for the strap to slop around in front of the lens.

And no I wasn't wearing a novelty hat.

Will
09-26-2009, 07:15 PM   #10
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I don't know if its relevant but the ones that have the stripe all have a shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second maybe that has something to do with it? other than that i dont know unless maybe the filter on the lens caused it?
09-26-2009, 07:19 PM   #11
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Looks like you have a shutter curtain failure.
Its not really expensive to fix, actually, but you'll be without your camera for a few weeks.
09-26-2009, 08:16 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gokenin Quote
I don't know if its relevant but the ones that have the stripe all have a shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second maybe that has something to do with it? other than that i dont know unless maybe the filter on the lens caused it?
Very good question - I think you may be on to something!

Of the half dozen photos with this problem from yesterday's shoot at the State Fair, three were taken at 1/4000th sec, and three were taken at 1/3000th sec. The three at the fastest shutter show the worst effects; the three at 1/3000th sec are bad but not quite AS bad. I also took three at 1/2000th sec - and of those, one shows slight shadowing.

I should add that there are no other photos taken at these very fast shutter speeds, in other words, no other photos that do NOT have problems.

So I think gokenin's spotted a common characteristic: these were all very fast shutter shots.

Now, where do I go from here?

Will
09-26-2009, 08:18 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kittykat46 Quote
Looks like you have a shutter curtain failure.
Its not really expensive to fix, actually, but you'll be without your camera for a few weeks.
Kittykat,

Is this something I contact Pentax USA support about?

I wonder if this is covered by warranty. I can't remember the terms of the K10D's warranty.

Being without the camera for a couple of weeks isn't a problem. I have no weddings at all in the next month and in any case I've got the K20D and the *ist DS for anything else I want to shoot.

Will
09-26-2009, 08:58 PM   #14
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I stand corrected - with such fast shutter speeds it does test the shutter curtain's ability to stay open just for that split second exposure. And it is possible for the curtain to be opened unequally if there's something sticking it at one end, giving the skewed dark portion of the image.
I experienced something similar to this with my old K100D and a fast fifty used wide open, but I got sharply delineated black portions with a perfectly horizontal line marking the start of the shutter curtain - plus it was at the bottom, so that led me away from thinking this was the problem with yours.

Hope it works out for you.
09-26-2009, 10:37 PM   #15
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Looks like its time for a new replacement shutter...
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